Atonement

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Atonement (also atoning, to atone) is the concept of a person taking action to correct previous wrongdoing on their part, either through direct action to undo the consequences of that act, equivalent action to do good for others, or some other expression of feelings of remorse. From the Middle English attone or atoon ("agreed", literally "at one"), now meaning to be "at one", in harmony, with someone. It can be seen as a necessary step on a path to redemption.

For the 2007 film, see Atonement (film).
The Atonement is not only doubly unjust, but it is perfectly futile. We are told that Christ took away the sins of the world; we have a right to ask, "how?" So far as we can judge, we bear our sins in our own bodies still, and the Atonement helps us not at all... all that is real exists the same as before. ~ Annie Besant
Should I not atone for the sins I have committed,
All that I have ever said will be a lie. ~ Milarepa
I am in charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin. When you offer a miracle to any of my brothers, you do it to yourself and me. The reason you come before me is that I do not need miracles for my own Atonement, but I stand at the end in case you fail temporarily. My part in the Atonement is the canceling out of all errors that you could not otherwise correct. ~ A Course in Miracles

Quotes[edit]

  • I had steadily made up my mind to investigate, one by one, every Christian dogma, and never again to say "I believe" until I had tested the object of faith; the dogmas which revolted me most were those of the Atonement and of Eternal Punishment... these, then, were the first that I dropped into the crucible of investigation... I concluded that inspiration belonged to all people alike, and there could be no necessity of atonement, and no eternal hell prepared for the unbeliever in Christianity. Thus, step by step, I renounced the dogmas of Christianity until there remained only, as distinctively Christian, the Deity of Jesus which had not yet been analysed. The whole tendency of the Broad Church stream of thought was to increase the manhood at the expense of the deity of Christ; and with hell and atonement gone, and inspiration everywhere, there appeared no raison d'etre for the Incarnation. Besides, there were so many incarnations, and the Buddhist absorption seemed a grander idea. Preface
  • The Atonement may be regarded as the central doctrine of Christianity, the very raison d'être of the Christian faith. Take this away, and there would remain indeed a faith and a morality, but both would have lost their distinctive features: it would be a faith without its centre, and a morality without its foundation. Christianity would be unrecognisable without its angry God, its dying Saviour, its covenant signed with "the blood of the Lamb". The blotting out of the Atonement would deprive millions of all hope towards God, and would cast them from satisfaction into anxiety from comfort into despair. The warmest feelings of Christendom cluster round the Crucifix, and he, the crucified one, is adored with passionate devotion, not as martyr for truth, not as witness for God, not as faithful to death, but as the substitute for his worshippers, as he who bears in their stead the wrath of God, and the punishment due to sin. The Christian is taught to see in the bleeding Christ the victim slain in his own place; he himself should be hanging on that cross, agonised and dying; those nail-pierced hands ought to be his; the anguish on that face should be furrowed on his own the weight of suffering resting on that bowed head should be crushing himself into the dust. In the simplest meaning of the words, Christ is the sinner's substitute, and on him the sin of the world is laid.
  • I wish at the outset, for the sake of justice and candour, to acknowledge frankly the good which has been drawn forth by the preaching of the Cross. This good has been, however, the indirect rather than the direct result of a belief in the Atonement. The doctrine, in itself, has nothing elevating about it, but the teaching closely connected with the doctrine has its ennobling and purifying side.
  • The Atonement is not only doubly unjust, but it is perfectly futile. We are told that Christ took away the sins of the world; we have a right to ask, "how?" So far as we can judge, we bear our sins in our own bodies still, and the Atonement helps us not at all. Has he borne the physical consequences of sin, such as the loss of health caused by intemperance of all kinds? Not at all, this penalty remains, and, from the nature of things, cannot be transferred. Has he borne the social consequences, shame, loss of credit, and so on? They remain still to hinder us as we strive to rise after our fall. Has he at least borne the pangs of remorse for us, the stings of conscience? By no means; the tears of sorrow are no less bitter, the prickings of repentance no less keen. Perhaps he has struck at the root of evil, and has put away sin itself out of a redeemed world? Alas! the wailing that goes up to heaven from a world oppressed with sin weeps out a sorrowfully emphatic, "no, this he has not done." What has he then borne for us? Nothing, save the phantom wrath of a phantom tyrant; all that is real exists the same as before.
  • We turn away, then, from the offered atonement with a feeling that would be impatience at such trifling, were it not all too sorrowful, and leave the Christians to impose on their imagined sacrifice, the imagined burden of the guilt of the accursed race. Further, the Atonement is, from the nature of things, entirely impossible: we have seen how Christ fails to bear our sins in any intelligible sense, but can he, in any way, bear the "punishment" of sin? The idea that the punishment of sin can be transferred from one person to another is radically false, and arises from a wrong conception of the punishment consequent on sin, and from the ecclesiastical guilt, so to speak, thought to be incurred thereby. The only true punishment of sin is the injury caused by it to our moral nature: all the indirect punishments, we have seen, Christ has not taken away, and the true punishment can fall only on ourselves. For sin is nothing more than the transgression of law. All law, when broken, entails of necessity an appropriate penalty, and recoils, as it were, on the transgressor. A natural law, when broken, avenges itself by consequent suffering, and so does a spiritual law: the injury wrought by the latter is not less real, although less obvious. Physical sin brings physical suffering; spiritual, moral, mental sin brings each its own appropriate punishment.
  • How strangely illogical is this doctrine of the Atonement. We propose to discuss it with the Christians from the Buddhistic stand-point, and show at once by what a series of sophistries, directed toward the one object of tightening the ecclesiastical yoke upon the popular neck, its acceptance as a divine command has been finally effected; also, that it has proved one of the most pernicious and demoralizing of doctrines.
  • The Christian church's concept of a vicarious atonement is a misunderstanding of the Christ's function. He came (in Palestine) and has come again now, to show the way, to lead, guide and inspire, but not to go against the Law of Karma. We must save ourselves through response to His teachings.
    • Benjamin Creme Questions & answers on reincarnation, karma, & past lives, Share International (2005)
  • The whole doctrine of original sin, the Fall, the vicarious Atonement, the placation of the Almighty by blood—all this is abhorrent to me. The spirit-guides do not insist upon these aspects of religion.
    • Arthur Conan Doyle, Quoted in The Life of Faith by Dr. A. T. Schofield, which was quoted in Heresies Exposed by William C. Irvine (Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune, New Jersey, 1921, p. 179)
  • The central ideas of Christianity, an angry God and vicarious atonement, are contrary to every fact in nature, as also to the better aspirations of the human heart; they are, in our present stage of enlightenment, absurd, preposterous, and blasphemous propositions... Even the street-sweeper is frequently more profoundly versed in subtle metaphysics and divine wisdom than the missionary sent to convert him.
    • Virchand Gandhi Christian Missions: A Triangular Debate, Before the Nineteenth Century Club of New York (1895)  
  • Should I not atone for the sins I have committed,
    All that I have ever said will be a lie.
    • Milarepa, The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa as translated and edited by Garma C. C. Chang (1975)
  • Miracles are part of an interlocking chain of forgiveness which, when completed, is the Atonement. Atonement works all the time and in all the dimensions of time. (25)
    Miracles represent freedom from fear. "Atoning" means "undoing." The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles.(26)
    A miracle is a correction introduced into false thinking by me. It acts as a catalyst, breaking up erroneous perception and reorganizing it properly. This places you under the Atonement principle, where perception is healed. (37)
  • I am in charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin. When you offer a miracle to any of my brothers, you do it to yourself and me. The reason you come before me is that I do not need miracles for my own Atonement, but I stand at the end in case you fail temporarily. My part in the Atonement is the canceling out of all errors that you could not otherwise correct. When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself. As you share my unwillingness to accept error in yourself and others, you must join the great crusade to correct it; listen to my voice, learn to undo error and act to correct it. The power to work miracles belongs to you. I will provide the opportunities to do them, but you must be ready and willing. Doing them will bring conviction in the ability, because conviction comes through accomplishment. The ability is the potential, the achievement is its expression, and the Atonement, which is the natural profession of the children of God, is the purpose. p. 4
  • "Heaven and earth shall pass away" means that they will not continue to exist as separate states. My word, which is the resurrection and the life, shall not pass away because life is eternal. You are the work of God, and his work is wholly lovable and wholly loving. This is how a man must think of himself in his heart, because this is what he is. The forgiven are the means of the Atonement. Being filled with spirit, they forgive in return. Those who are released must join in releasing their brothers, for this is the plan of the Atonement. Miracles are the way in which minds that serve the Holy Spirit unite with me for the salvation or release of all of God's creations. I am the only one who can perform miracles indiscriminately, because I am the Atonement. You have a role in the Atonement which I will dictate to you. Ask me which miracles you should perform. This spares you needless effort, because you will be acting under direct communication. The impersonal nature of the miracle is an essential ingredient, because it enables me to direct its application, and under my guidance miracles lead to the highly personal experience of revelation. A guide does not control but he does direct, leaving it up to you to follow.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about: